Close Encounters
Embodied Journeys

Close Encounters / Embodied Journeys a choreographic exhibition 

It is with great pleasure that Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art and Dansehallerne open the doors to the fifth edition of Close Encounters June 6th – 10th, 2023. This edition of Close Encounters is curated by choreographer and dancer Julienne Doko (FR/CAR/DK). 

The experience is entitled Embodied Journeys – a choreographic exhibition that brings together performers, visual artists, and dancers in a presentation of reflections on internal and external views of the black body.  

Curator Julienne Doko has put together a program with six works by Danish-based pan-African/Afro-European artists. They have been invited to produce works for this choreographic exhibition within dance, performance and installation art. The works examine their identity as one of the “others” in Denmark and give an expanded perspective on Danishness and decolonization.  It is an investigative journey about belonging and the right to speak. 

Through the journey, questions are raised: What influence do centuries of objectification of the black body have today? Which setting is the body part of now and how can it be set free? There is within the works a focus on healing, a collective emancipation practice and the possibility of empowerment. 

Julienne Doko about the curation:

“Embodied Journeys aims at creating a space where we bridge and mediate between the public and a constellation of perspectives on Black identities, and by extension on the experience of being othered.

For this project, I wanted Denmark-based pan-African/Afropean creators to amplify the resonance of our distinct yet overlapping voices. Together, we represent a large array of the Afrodiasporic world with roots ranging from The Republic of Central Africa, Kenya, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique to Trinidad. I have chosen these artists because of their unique way of using their art to affirm their multilayered identity in Denmark whether it is by addressing the Danish colonial history, reconnecting Flamenco to its African roots, drawing from their immediate cultural roots, exploring queer experience or sharing their personal journey as a non-Dane.

Embodied Journeys is configured as a voyage that the audience will embark on, witnessing six separate performances of about 10 minutes each that are in dialogue with each other. The public follows the trail of narratives that are told in a specific order with a physical transition between each of them.”

The 6 artists at Close Encounters – Embodied Journeys

Jeannette Ehlers presents CAST ON WATER: Eulogies to Sisterhood Across the African Diaspora”. The piece explores the idea of sisterhood, particularly within the context of the black female experience. The work confronts the legacy of the Middle Passage and the ongoing effects of the transatlantic slave trade as well as emphasizes the importance of solidarity and connectivity among women from the African Diaspora. 

Jupiter Child presents UNRAVELLED: Whose labor is it to deconstruct oppressive structures? 
Unravelled is a performative process. Through gathering collaborative efforts we reflect and experience the intrinsic labour involved in dismantling colonial” patterns. The performance asks for engagement and action from the visitors, collaborators and people involved in its making. Everyone is invited to practice some crucial movements for dismantling and liberation, starting by unstitching the installation in front of us. 
Unravelled is an immersive experience that challenges visitors, but not only them,  to consider the impact of their actions in the fight for liberation. 

Julienne Doko presents CORPS ACCORDS. We walk alone in the world, carrying our inheritance in our genes and our life experiences. CORPS ACCORDS explores cycles of confrontation and synergy between the self and the other on the journey towards reconciliation of identities.  ⁠

Wanjiku Victoria Seets presents the work BLINKERED a cross-disciplinary piece that invites you to listen, see and challenge your biases through an array of narratives. It breaks down the single story told about Africa. By way of story sound, music, video and performance it suggests a humane alternative to the prevailing stereotypes. 

Sall Lam Toro presents the work OBSIDIAN DREAM LOVE LETTERS (2023), a multimedia performance installation piece created by Sall Lam Toro. The work is drawing upon a love letter to black erotic consciousness built upon universes of phantasmagoria, obsidian sculptures, fictionalized and non-fictionalized acts of archiving and sensuous rituals.

Phyllis Akinyi presents the work FLAMENCURA. Locura y cura. Madness and cure. With Flamencura, dancer and choreographer Phyllis Akinyi takes us on a flamenco journey – a journey that examines clichéd contradictions, freedom in the in-between, ‘invisiblized’ African flamenco roots, folkloric futurism, communities and solitude, and an eternal struggle to claim space and oneself. 

The year 2020 (#blacklifematters) was marked by a showdown with social and racial injustice in many countries, including Denmark. Since then, there has been a greater focus on the importance of allowing non-dominant voices and narratives to be heard.  

The choreographic exhibition will have a performance journey within the exhibition which premieres June 6 and happens twice a day June 7-10. 


June 6 
17:00 – 18:30 Opening performance – a guided journey through six works
18:30 – 22:00 Vernissage with DJ MOF!YAH & open exhibition (without performers) 

June 7 
13:00 – 18:00 Open exhibition (without performers) 
18:00 – 19:30 Performance – a guided journey through six works

18:45 – 19:45 Panel discussion The predatory eye on the black body (more info below)
20:00 – 21:30 Performance – a guided journey through six works

21:15 – 22:00 Open exhibition (without performers) 

June 8-9

13:00 – 18:00 Open exhibition (without performers)  
18:00 – 19:30  Performance – a guided journey through six works 
19:30 – 20:00 Open exhibition (without performers) 

20:00 – 21:30 Performance – a guided journey through six works 

21:30 – 22:00 Open exhibition (without performers) 

June 10 
13:00 – 18:00 Open exhibition (without performers) 
14:30 – 15:30 Artist talk with artists from Embodied Journeys. Moderated by Nina Cramer, Ph.d.-fellow at The Department of Arts and Cultural Studies

16:00 – 17:30 Performance – a guided journey through six works
18:00 – 19:30 Performance – a guided journey through six works

19:30 – 22:00 Open exhibition (without performers) 


Click here for a digital version of the full program.

Curator Julienne Doko 

A French dance performer, teacher and choreographer with roots in the Central African Republic, based in Denmark. In her dance practice, Julienne explores connections between different dance styles and uses contemporary dance as a space of hybridisation, a vehicle for synergy between dance techniques and expressions. Her movement and dramaturgical line take inspiration from her homelands and the journeys she has taken in between. Julienne has performed internationally with a number of companies, in festivals, TV shows and in musicals.  Julienne is a co-founder of the dance association Connexions. 

Panel discussion The predatory eye on the black body / June 7
For centuries on end, the black body has been objectified – scrutinized, categorized, and both poetized and belittled.

From the age of colonization, this outer gaze, or predatory eye, of Western society has carved dehumanizing and degrading narratives into the minds of its citizens. And to this day, the physical attributes of blackness are something many people still feel entitled to comment on, evaluate, dismantle – and even touch unconsensually. This external view has not only tainted the perspectives of the European descendants but also affected black people’s internal notion of self.

Supporting the premise of the Embodied Journeys exhibition, the panel will address and dissect this schism of the outer and the inner views of a black person’s body.

The panel presents a strong line-up of influential and visionary people of colour:

Julienne Doko. Dancer, performer, teacher, and choreographer. Curator of this year’s Close Encounters program Embodied Journeys.

Jeannette Ehlers. Artist and chairperson. Exhibiting the piece CAST ON WATER: Eulogies to Sisterhood Across the African Diaspora.

Wanjiku Victoria Seest. Performing artist. Showcase her work Blinkered at Embodied Journeys.

Thandi Dyani. Change-maker and equal rights advocate. Aida Sowe. Impact entrepreneur and model.
Crossing Borders representative: Oda-Kange Diallo, Scholar and anthropologist. Oda-Kange will moderate the panel discussion.

A unique choreographic exhibition 

Close Encounters is a unique choreographic exhibition that unites visual art, dance and performance. For each issue of Close Encounters, we present a new angle on the fruitful relationship between contemporary art and choreography. Today, choreographers are increasingly invited into the platforms of museums and galleries because the boundary between choreography and visual art has never been more fluid. Dansehallerne and Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art have collaborated around the creation of recurrent Close Encounters since 2018. 


Close Encounters


Embodied Journeys


Exhibition, Performance


  • 6.6.2023, 17:00
  • 7.6.2023, 18:00
  • 7.6.2023, 20:00
  • 8.6.2023, 18:00
  • 8.6.2023, 20:00
  • 9.6.2023, 18:00
  • 9.6.2023, 20:00
  • 10.6.2023, 16:00
  • 10.6.2023, 18:00


1 hour 15 minutes-1 hour 30 minutes


Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, Oslo Pl. 1, 2100 København


Curator: Julienne Doko (DK/FR/CAR) / Curator consultent: Awa Konaté /// CAST ON WATER: Eulogies to Sisterhood Across the African Diaspora: Choreography: S.W., Performer: Jeannette Ehlers, Sound: Trevor Mathison, Videografer: Sara Jordan, Christian Brems, Concept: Jeannette Ehlers, Assistance: Mai Takawira. /// CORPS ACCORDS: Choreography: Julienne Doko, Dancers: Meire Santos & Julienne Doko, Drummer and music: Simin Stine Ramezanali, Composer: Jackie Gallant, Video installation recordings: Julie Malmstrøm. /// UNRAVELLED: Concept, performer and production: Jupiter J Child, assistance: Felis Dos, Performer: Abdul Dube, Photo og promotion: Jupiter Child and Felis Dos, Video documentation: Eva Berg. /// FLAMENCURA: Concept and performer: Phyllis Akinyi /// OBSIDIAN DREAM LOVE LETTERS: creation, co-choreography, artistic direction, performance: Sall Lam Toro, script writing, performance, co-choreography, assistance: Suzie the Cockroach, animation, original soundtrack composition and production, assistance: Warren Jones, videography, pov, narrative: Keiria Hissabu, light and visuals design: Will Zawistowski, costume design: Serena Coelho, 3D animation and promotion visuals: Janice Prempeh /// BLINKERED: Idea and participants: Wanjiku Victoria Seest (Feat. Kibby the Freak). Manuscript: Wanjiku Victoria Seest, Gathoni wa Wairura. Dramaturge: Gathoni wa Wairura. Director: Delia Trice. Music, Light design: Video Kibby the Freak, Brian Opendo. Staging and scenography: Delia Trice. Costumes and props: Wanjiku Victoria Seest, Gathoni wa Wairura /// Close Encounters Embodied Journeys is supported by Danish Arts Council, Augustinus Fonden, Dansk Skuespillerforbund, Knud Højgaard Fonden og CPH Stage

Close Encounters - vibe from the unique choreographic exhibition
Danish Arts Foundation (en)
Augustinus Fonden (en)
Dansk Skuespillerforbund (en)
Knud Højgaards Fond (en)
Den Frie